Ads via The Deck
Nameplate set in Blesk by Samarskaya & Partners. Your typeface could be next. Learn more.

Our Favorite Typefaces of 2005

Typographica  on December 25, 2005

Best Fonts of 2005, Part 1Last year’s “best of” list was far more popular than we predicted. The interest in type design is stronger than ever — and the audience is broader too. As public awareness of typography increases, it becomes even more important to use something other than the same old stuff that lingers in your font menu.

We took all this to heart and expanded our coverage this year. I’m pleased to present the first of two Favorite Fonts installments for 2005. Each contributing writer made their own selection with only one requirement: the typeface must have been published or released in the first half of the year. The results are diverse, but a few trends can be drawn from the list:

  1. The dominance of indie foundries. Gone are the days when large commercial outfits put out the bulk of serious type. Ten of the 15 top selections come from one-man studios. Meanwhile, several of the big boys (ITC, Linotype, Monotype, URW) are absent. A few of these are likely to make an appearance in Part Two, but the shift is striking.
  2. OpenType. Nearly every featured font is available in OpenType, and many exclusively so. OT is no longer a mysterious format with questionable benefit. The number of OT-savvy apps is still disappointing, with only Adobe Illustrator and InDesign offering full support. (Even Photoshop lags behind in its handling of OT features.) But with Quark and Microsoft promising more support in the coming months, reasons to select old TrueType and PostScript formats have become virtually nonexistent.
  3. Xavier Dupré. With a showing in 2004 and three(!) designs in this year’s list, the Cambodia-based Frenchman is perhaps today’s most productive single source of creative type design, rivaled only by Christian Schwartz.

Okay, enough blather. On with the list! Part Two, covering fonts released in the second half of 2005, will be published in January. If you’d like to contribute, or even just nominate a font for inclusion, shoot me a mail.

Update: January 9, 2006 — Village is offering a special discounted bundle of its fonts from this list. Arrival, Crank 8, Flama, Garda, and Litteratra are included for $575.00. Other vendors take note!

Update: January 10, 2006 — It appears other vendors are listening. Relato and Maple are both 20% off in celebration of their presence on the list.

Update: July 13, 2007 — We changed our minds. There is no Part 2 to this article. The second half of 2005 is covered in our 2006 review.

Lisboa by Ricardo Santos

Lisboa Ricardo Santos
Also available at FontShop.
Attempting to design a typeface evocative of a geographic area or a specific culture is a perilous journey. Where the Twin font system, for example, goes too far, Lisboa harbors the sagacity to merely vie for — and thereby achieve — a simple Iberian warmth, something especially difficult in a sans. In the severely over-crowded field of humanist sans-serifs, Lisboa distinguishes itself through completeness (including expert characters and two numeral styles) and technical sophistication (as in its trapping), but mostly by providing two subtly varied cuts: one that helps exhibit the design’s particular character; and another that eschews detail for maximal clarity in small sizes. Although the naming of the two cuts seems awkward, the pair deliver a useful balance of expressive potential versus humble functionality. — Hrant Papazian

Freight by Joshua Darden

Freight Joshua Darden
Also available at Phil’s Fonts and FontShop.
Just as I received Stephen’s invitation to write about our favorite fonts, I was iChatting with Josh Darden, who was just writing him to announce the expansion of his Freight family. So I think it’s only fitting that I comment on it. This family is insane. Not only because of the 100 styles, but also because of its charming little quirks. The tail of the ‘G’, the italic ‘i’s, the delicious ‘k’. While we move out of the era of the antiseptic sans-serifs, Freight offers refreshing anomalies that warm up the design. To sum it up in a few short sentences is impossible. It deserves thorough attention. You don’t need to know Josh personally to surmise that quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears went into these fonts. And I’m sure they’ll preserve those bodily fluids of graphic designers who purchase Freight. Every piece of type you could possibly want is in this family. I told Josh, “get ready to get rich.” I also told him I expect 10% of his profits. — Dyana Weissman
Freight in Font Magazine

Freight in FontShop’s Font magazine.

Update — Freight Display and Big were released November, 2005.

Ministry by Alejandro Paul

Ministry Script Alejandro Paul
How do you convey sexiness with type? Use a sultry script face. The only thing more typographically titillating might be a set of canoodling ligatures. This ultra-seductive combination comes together in Alejandro Paul’s Ministry Script. (Ironic, isn’t it?) A set of 500+ ligatures and alternates makes this feature-rich beauty pure pleasure to play with. — Paul Hunt

I fell in love with Ministry Script the moment I saw it. It’s one of the most outrageously flourished digital scripts I’ve ever seen, yet it’s also remarkably friendly and approachable — no surprise, given its period American signage roots. The specimen book [1.1MB PDF] is a fabulous example of how to show off a typeface. As well as being beautiful and comprehensive, it even offers a brief lesson in using Ministry’s remarkably extensive OpenType features. With over a 1000 characters (including swashes, contextual and stylistic alternates, and a mind-boggling number of ligatures) Ministry Script is, if nothing else, a perfect example of how exciting OpenType can be for designers. — Jordan Harper

Garamond Premier Pro by Robert Slimbach
Garamond Premier Pro Greek

Garamond Premier Pro Robert Slimbach
Perhaps because they are often used as upgrade incentives or because they tend to be solid, workhorse typefaces, Adobe’s font releases sometimes do not gather the press or excitement that they deserve. However, the new Garamond by Robert Simbach does deserve more attention. Not only for the Latin portion of the design — with four optical sizes, five weights, and more accented characters and OpenType features than you can shake a stick at. No, the most exciting thing about this new design is that Slimbach, a non-native speaker of Greek, has now designed two very different Greek fonts and has done both very, very well. If the first of these designs, Minion Greek, is a solid linebacker/mid-fielder of a typeface, Garamond Premire Pro Greek is a ballet dancer. The design sparkles with fluidity of line and contrast, taking all of the calligraphic influences of Greek and putting them to the fore. — Ben Kiel

Deréon by Jean François Porchez

Deréon Jean François Porchez
Deréon is sophisticated type design hip-hop and visual R&B. When I see Déreon, I see a Whitman and Dalliance mix (two of my favorites) creating something unique. Like Whitman, Deréon gets its body from the Scotch Didone Caledonia. Scotch forms, made contemporary and suitable for display with angled counters and sharp serifs, are the steady rhythm over which Porchez improvises like a skilled vocalist. He incorporates funky, elegant forms in the alternates that curl and twist organically, creating a hybrid style and unique voice. The typesetter becomes the turntablist, cutting and blending the three styles. Put this one in the back of your crate, because it’s exclusive to music star Beyoncé’s House of Deréon for six years. — Chris Rugen

Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson

Proxima Nova Mark Simonson
Proxima Nova takes all that is good from faces such as Gotham, Neutraface, Futura, and Akzidenz Grotesk, and leaves what’s bad behind. It nestles neatly in a place between the geometric, grotesque, and gothic. Its generous x-height, thoughtfully balanced color, and expert typographic features (small caps, text figures, lining figures, etc.) position it as a prime candidate for extended textual setting. This is definitely Mr. Simonson’s tour de force. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Proxima Nova pop-up in the next major magazine redesign. — Kyle Hildebrant

Zingha by Xavier Dupré

Zingha Xavier Dupré
Also available at FontShop and MyFonts.
Reviewing Xavier Dupré’s Zingha type family is as delightful as discovering several long lost cases of unreleased ATF hot metal typefaces. The fourteen styles released through Font Bureau are not purely retro, but dreamily reminiscent of early 1900s designs; they are complemented with roman small caps, italic swashes, plus an open face display cut called Deco paired with an italic swash. All in all, Zingha a well balanced family with diversity and flair. — Norbert Florendo

I like harmonious variation across a family of types, and of all the types I’ve seen in 2005, Xavier Dupré’s Zingha achieves it better than any other. From the open, engraved ‘Deco’ styles to the scriptish italics (with some delicious swashes), Zingha enjoys life in a multitude of ways. (The italic ampersand looks as though it may be enjoying itself too much!) The angular serifs and seemingly disjointed and overly-pointy stroke terminals all work (surprisingly) well together. I’m a big fan of the text setting — it looks like a mischievous child pulling a straight face. Zingha has personality, energy, and flair, and I’m constantly looking for a project to persuade me to splash out on a license for the full family! — Jordan Harper

Vista Sans by Xavier Dupré
Vista Sans Xavier Dupré
Also available at FontShop and MyFonts.
Xavier Dupré’s third major release of the year is arguably his most useful. With its friendly quirks, Vista Sans is a lot like Tarzana — another Emigre font — but succeeds everywhere Tarzana fails. The more distinctive glyphs feel harmonious with the rest of the font, never jarring. Gentle swashes and a large x-height make for a friendly sans that would work just right in so many settings, it seems an excellent investment. Also, if you haven’t seen it, be sure to request the Vista booklet from Emigre. The pioneering firm may have laid their magazine to rest this year, but their printed catalogs continue to make us lust after Emigre type. — Stephen Coles

Cézanne Pro by James Greishaber

Cézanne Pro James Greishaber
Also available from FontShop
You may recognize Cézanne, as it is probably the most ubiquitous digital script ever released, showing up on everything from scrapbook pages to the walls of Starbucks. Unfortunately, its popularity has led to a great deal of misuse. Cézanne in OpenType is a big thing — it puts some power back in the type designer’s hands. Thanks to its extensive array of new alternates, ligatures, and swashes, this edition of Cézanne will result in more organic renderings that actually evoke handwriting rather than copy-and-paste handwritten letters, revealing the true spirit of the artist’s hand. — Colin Hartnett

Arrival by Keith Tam
Arrival Keith Tam
Arrival has finally arrived (pun intended). It took Keith Tam three years since he first showed his PDF specimen of Arrival until it was finally released. This typeface references both industral and calligraphic forms, from the work of Evert Bloemsma to the selfnamed font by Adrian Frutiger. The humanist flare with the expansion of the end strokes creates a genial feel, but the face can still seem formal. This, I think, is perfect for a font made especially for directional signage. A strictness combined with friendliness. I can’t imagine a better welcome to a new city. — Peter Bruhn

FF Maiola by Veronika Burian

FF Maiola Veronika Burian
Just when you thought your collection’s text categories were set, Veronika Burian burst the stable doors open, reviving the Czech genre and its warm idiosyncrasies. A “warm” typeface? FF Maiola solves this puzzle using discrete play of irregularity and multiple angles, harkening back to Menhart and Preissig’s approaches. — Dan Reynolds

Maple by Eric Olson

Maple Eric Olson
Also available at MyFonts and FontShop.
Other type designers have mined the 19th century English grotesque, but Eric Olson gives it an energetic crispness which makes earlier attempts seem a bit stuffy. Maple captures the exuberant quirkiness of the grots without slavishly imitating them. I’d love to see this family expanded to include some condensed members. — Mark Simonson
Maple In Interrobang 3Maple-In-Interrobang-2-1

Maple in SOTA‘s Interrobang 3.

Garda by Mário Feliciano
Garda Mario Feliciano
Garda is a set of three classically proportioned titling caps. The full serif, #1, is as elegant as Trajan, but more genial. The small serif, #2 achieves a new look with straight horizontals and verticals, tapered rounds, and noticeable, but not assertive serifs. The sans, #3, has a fully classical look, but a softer grace than Futura caps. With great elegance and style—and alternative characters and ligatures—the set offers superb alternatives to Trajan, Optima, and Futura for titling. — William Berkson

Litteratra by Karsten Lücke
Litteratra Karsten Lücke
I am a sucker for modern fonts that rework and expand on historic typefaces and ideas, framing them in the newest and most exciting technology. Mrs. Eaves was a great example of this, and Karsten Lücke’s Litteratra — a ligature of “littera atra,” meaning ‘dark letter’ — is as well.

It’s a sort of roman amalgam of textura and Schwabacher, channeling the expressionist spirit of Vojtech Preissig. While Lücke writes that his intention was to make a face that created “a dark text block on the page,” Litteratra still manages to bring an awful lot of movement and organic sensibility to counter its thematic darkness.

The immense OTF package includes italic lowercase, small caps, spaced and titling uppercase and a load of discretionary ligatures and contextual alternates (as well as oldstyle and lining numerals, each in both proportional and tabular varieties, replete with superiors, inferiors and arbitrary fractions) — more than 1900 glyphs total. It’s not only “a family in one font,” as Lücke notes, but an entire historical movement. — Joshua Lurie-Terrell

See also: Karsten Lücke’s personal site for more info and PDF specimens.

Relato by Eduardo Manso

Relato Eduardo Manso
Also available from MyFonts and FontShop
Sometimes you don’t really need an impressive type system with dozens of weights, nor feature-rich OpenType, nor extended ligature sets et al. Sometimes all it takes is being smitten by a small, beautifully designed serif family by someone you’ve never heard of before. Emtype Relato combines Dutch purposefulness with Latin sensuality. Its serifs are constructed following a clever principle, and the faces look simply gorgeous. — Yves Peters

Relato was reviewed in’s TypeCon2005 keepsake booklet.

Other notable January – August 2005 releases:

FF Absara Sans Xavier Dupré
Amor František Storm
Avebury Black and Open Jim Parkinson
Ayres Royal Gert Weischer
Bembo Book Robin Nicholas
Bluemlein Scripts Alejandro Paul
Botanika Tomáš Brousil
Cabazon Jim Parkinson
Chocolate Angel Koziupa and Alejandro Paul
Crank8 Greg Lindy & Henk Elenga
Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) Christian Schwartz and Erik Spiekermann
Dynasty Rian Hughes
Fedra Sans Display Peter Bilak
Flama Mário Feliciano
Galicia Rian Hughes
Gill Sans Pro Monotype
Groovin’ Jason Walcott
Handsome Pro Nick Shinn
Happy Hour Jason Walcott
Incognito Gábor Kóthay
Kaffeesatz Jan Gerner
Kingfisher Jeremy Tankard
Lapture Tim Ahrens
Mashine Tim Ahrens
Mercury Display & Text Jonathan Hoefler & Tobias Frere-Jones
Miserichordia Rian Hughes
Modesto Text Jim Parkinson
Morice Morice Kastoun & Stephen Banham
Nerva Dino dos Santos
Nicholas Nick Shinn
Orgovan Tomáš Brousil
Paperback John Downer
Propane David Buck
Radiogram Rian Hughes
Rough Riders and Redux Michael Hagemann
Sculptura Jason Castle
ITC Stone Humanist Sans Sumner Stone
Soap Ray Larabie
Sovereign No longer available. Nick Cooke
Tamarillo Jason Walcott
Tourette Jonathan Barnbrook
Wanderer Michael Hagemann


  1. Marc Oxborrow says:

    Once again, an entertaining and educational collection. Can’t wait for the second half.

    The “notables” listing was equally useful — how have I managed to miss the wonderfulness of DSType, for example?

  2. Darrel says:

    Typographica needs to swing a deal to distribute those as a bundle.

  3. Darrel:

    That would be a great idea. Although, I imagine it would be a logistical nightmare.

    It would be nice to see some inter-foundry collaboration like this.

  4. Cheshire Dave says:

    Great roundup — these really are spectacular. Can’t wait for part two.

  5. Hctor says:

    Nice and useful list, altough I’m a bit suspicious to the number of Veer faces listed. Whatever, they are all great.

  6. Yves Peters says:

    What do you mean with the “suspicious” bit, Hctor?

  7. Slimbach’s work is amazing as usual.

  8. Paul D says:

    I love the tz ligature in Kafeesatz.

  9. Dennis Smith says:

    What is this? A chosen-by-committee list of boring fonts no one had any strong objections to? (Except Maple.) The “Other Notable Releases” are much more interesting.

  10. Brian H. says:

    What are your favorite fixed-width fonts? I am a programmer who’s tired of the standards: courier, courier new, lucida console, monaco, etc.

  11. How about an article about the best freely available/open source fonts for those of us who can’t afford $99 for a typeface?

  12. paul hunt says:

    What is this? A chosen-by-committee list of boring fonts…

    no committee, most likely the webmasters sent out invitations to designers they know for submissions and they chose the faces they liked best for this list. There is no accounting for taste.

    How about an article about the best freely available/open source fonts for those of us who can’t afford $99 for a typeface?

    Where to find “Cool” free fonts

  13. Hrant says:

    Well of course there’s a committee! The Clandestine Committee For The Promulgation of Just Plain Good Type. As for boring, although I would concede that this year there was no prominent mountain like last year, the plateau actually seems higher. Most fonts that are more “interesting” than these can only be used for a day or three – flavor of the week churn. In contrast, these ones are keepers. Oh, and “septic sans serifs” is a keeper for sure!

    BTW Brian, there are threads both on Typographica (Fonts for Programmers) and Typophile dealing extensively with fixed-width fonts.


  14. Colin says:

    What designers and non-designers find interesting are two different things. Designers love subtlety, and the uniqueness of a lot of these typefaces is very subtle. This list is selected (mostly) by designers (I’m one of the exceptions).

    Anyway, I don’t get how anyone could call Ministry Script (at least) “boring”.

  15. Brian,

    Microsoft’s new Consolas. A great fixed width face. Made specifically for programming. (although not “officially” released yet)

  16. nick shinn says:

    I wonder if this is the shape of things to come.
    There are quite a few serif faces here, but it’s a genre that people aren’t buying at the moment (according to best-seller lists at Veer, Myfonts, and
    The type market/culture moves slowly, so this “push” by type designers to develop typographically sophisticated typefaces bodes well for the future; maybe a resurgence of classic typography five years from now.

  17. Hrant says:

    Well, Classic would be better than what we’ve had lately, but hopefully it will be more than that – serifs can do a lot more than evoke Morison and such. Unless we’re all wishful-thinking to begin with… :-/


  18. nick shinn says:

    Re. “classic” — with the exception of Tam and Porchez, the main selection is decidedly “quaint”, “retro”, or “old-fashioned”, so it seems that the element of nostalgia may be the emotional impetus towards a certain kind of typographic “quality”.

  19. Hrant says:

    Sorry, Typophile’s editing ability has
    made me sloppy: “B&R#1″ and “Monticello”.


  20. Hrant says:

    If Lisboa is “quaint”, “retro” or “old-fashioned” (really? and which one?) then Tam’s Arrival must also be the same, no? Also, I think JFP’s Der’on* and Vista are pretty comparable (I mean in terms of those qualities). Nostalgia: it’s possible of course, but I hope untrue.

    * BTW, it’s great to see JFP apply what I’ve long considered to be the best form of “g” (see R&B#1/Oxford/Moticells and Fountain’s Baskerville).


  21. nick shinn says:

    Nostalgia: it’s possible of course, but I hope untrue.

    Well, maybe I’m on the wrong track describing all this well-tailored* conservatism as retro. How about “hip to be square”?

    *the unavoidable presence of those superior production tools, FontLab and OpenType, may have something to do with this emphasis.

  22. Ivan Minic says:

    Let’s just hope that this fenomenal selection will keep people from using Triplex and Catul for every new “modern” logo there is.

  23. I think the fact that ten of the 15 top selections come from one-man studios is a great sign. The trend seems to be the same for indie music as well. It’s amazing what can be accomplished without the filter of a committee.

    Keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to part two.

    Happy New Year!

  24. Cool!

    I like a lot of what I see, and that’s just good. Makes me wanna work even harder with my own designs.

    I wonder if this is the shape of things to come.
    There are quite a few serif faces here, but its a genre that people arent buying at the moment (according to best-seller lists at Veer, Myfonts, and…

    This might be it. I have found my serfis doing pretty well though despite the “best selling lists” telling otherwise.

    Look forward to see the harvest of part 2


  25. Cool!

    I like a lot of what I see, and that’s just good. Makes me wanna work even harder with my own designs.

    I wonder if this is the shape of things to come.
    There are quite a few serif faces here, but it’s a genre that people aren’t buying at the moment (according to best-seller lists at Veer, Myfonts, and…

    This might be it. I have found my serfis doing pretty well though despite the “best selling lists” telling otherwise.

    Look forward to see the harvest of part 2


  26. Lisboa Quaint, lovely, forgiving, sweet, endearing, practical, gil sans-like. Love! :^)

    …warmth, something especially difficult in a sans…

    Should Lisboa be called a cursive linear? The curls aren’t serifs, and you wouldn’t call it a semi-serif, or a semi-sans (well, I wouldn’t). Its a cursive linear.

    …maybe a resurgence of classic typography five years from now.

    Classical revival Not maybe. Definitely Nick. The question is how long will the cycle last before taste swings back? And to what? Classicism: revival, reversion, revival, reversion, ad infinitum. If it comes back in I hope it stays for a long time.

  27. ***
    Nick comment:
    There are quite a few serif faces here, but it’s a genre that people aren’t buying at the moment (according to best-seller lists at Veer, Myfonts, and

    I think that we should see that “nobody buying serifs fonts” more in the reverse as “people buying mostly sanserifs.” The subjects, topics, in graphic design require more sanserifs, because most of the jobs are ads, leaflets, flyers, etc. for companies who want to give contemporary value to their messages.

    Serifed typefaces are more something typically used in books, newspapers and few others things. And theses area are typically something that you don’t redesign every weeks. Best sellers are not necessary the reflect of the everyday use of typefaces. There is a large quantity of books set everyday in serifed typefaces simply because publishing company don’t change quite often their “corporate” typefaces. I have the feeling that in term of quantity, there is the same quantity of serifed tyefaces used everyday than sanserifs, even more…

  28. thanks for adding yanone kaffeesatz to the list. i dont really think its a perfect face or anything – actually, i’ve never found it useful for anything.. if i remember correctly, the kerning/spacing could not really be called “perfect”.

    but thanks for adding it here because i think its a great effort by the designer. he states on his page:
    “Jedenfalls ist es meine erste halbwegs fertige Schrift. Eigentlich war sie nur zum üben gedacht.”
    which means, translated with my not-so-perfect english:
    “It’s my first halfway through finished typeface. in the beginning, it was only meant as a way to learn typedesign.”

    and for that, its an awesome effort!

  29. Agreed, Thierry. I think Kaffeesatz is remarkable as being one of the few free fonts that surpasses many commercial releases in originality and quality. It’s a nice casual headliner.

  30. Sans serifs are contemporary now, and were for most of the 20th century, but what of the future? What happens when the definition of “contemporary” changes? If seriffed fonts become fashionable again for display work, possibly as a reaction against the predominance of sans serifs, then the definition of “contemporary” changes, making sans serifs unfashionable.

    Is this mere semantic quibbling? No, we’re talking about cultural realities with bona fide, measurable qualities.

    While the design possibilites for sans serifs are not yet exhausted, the genre seems to have reached a zenith of predictability in that new sans serif faces no longer appear fresh. I know, type must be familiar and change comes in small increments. That’s not what I’m getting at. I’m talking about the difference between Helvetica and Univers, or Dax v.s Kaffeesatz. When it premiered Dax was different and innovative. It redefined the contemporary sans genre and was still familiar enough for the market to accept. Kaffeesatz is sweet and I like it because the cursive k breaks with convention, but in structure its not substantially different from Dax Compact. To a type designer the two faces are quite different, each with its own distinct “feel” and detail. To a consumer or lay person I suspect the difference between Dax Compact and Kaffeesatz would be minimal (except for the k).

    Its like the Helvetica Meditations:
    “That’s Helvetica.”
    “No it isn’t, it’ Arial!”
    “Franklin Gothic!”

    Same thing, geez :^) Design is design (structure), finish is clothing.

    To be clear, I am not attacking Kaffeesatz. I like it very much, so much warmer and more human than Dax.

    To breath new life into the sans genre type designers will have to do more of the same—give up more of the conventional roman structures rooted in the antiqua model.

    Best sellers are not necessary the reflect of the everyday use of typefaces.

    Yes. The volume sellers are more a reflection of which fonts are being used for display typography.

  31. Norbert Florendo says:

    I feel the type industry itself (type designers, foundries/studios and font distributors) has far less influence on typographic trends than during the days of proprietary typesetting systems.

    Stands to reason… far less businesses and industries at stake now since manufacturers of typesetting equipment and professional typesetting services no longer exist.

  32. Sean says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous Garamond.

  33. chester says:

    Many thanks to Typographica’s editors for selecting so many of our members’ types for inclusion in this year’s (Part 1) list.

    The designers of the five Village exclusive fonts in the list Keith Tam (Arrival), Greg Lindy & Henk Elenga (Crank 8), Mrio Feliciano (Flama and Garda), and Karsten Lcke (Litteratra) are offering a package of those five types at a savings of over 1/3. Instead of the full price of US$865, you can get a package deal for US$575.

    The “Typographica Favorites 05″ package is available on each of the type’s pages at, and will be on offer through the end of March 2006.

    Thanks again on behalf of all of the members of Village.

  34. This is all very beautiful, but I must keep my feet on the ground. In Italy 95% of the books (any genre) are still typeset in Times, Garaldes, and a few other classic reincarnations. Even books set in Baskervilles seems to have become uncommon (a pity, for me).

    The most revolutionary thing may be an occasional book set in Scala.
    You see a lot of new faces in magazines or other short-life stuff, of course, but when publishers in my country will start opening up for a little innovation?

  35. Bram Pitoyo says:

    Personally, I saw the general direction of the community shifting to a more humanist point-of-view (Proxima Nova, Maple and Arrival, from the sans serif side of the field.) But it has also moved from mostly ‘original’ creations (that is, typefaces that was largely based off the designer’s own ideas) back to the neo-revivalism (Garamond Premier Pro and Litteratra anyone?) So Garalde is obviously still alive and well, but this year with a little twist of Venice and the rest of the Europe (Zingha, Maiola and Relato.) New, unique typefaces are also maturing as more typefaces now reflect a specific region/country rather than just modifying the classic (like Lisboa and Vista Sans) and beautifully, too! Of course a sense of playfulness is never lost, as we can see in the typefaces Garda and Dereon.

    To comment on Claudio’s post, no, I can’t stand reading the same old Garamond anymore; but when I do read, I would still like the familiarity of a Garalde/Venetian. These new typefaces has succeeded in bringing subtle idiosyncratic varieties to the otherwise bland standard. In other words, I would definitely use these typefaces for setting my next books.

    Great job, Typographica team!

  36. Village is offering a special discounted bundle of its fonts from this list. Arrival, Crank 8, Flama, Garda, and Litteratra are included for $575.00. Other vendors take note!

  37. Yves Peters says:

    What a splendid idea of Chester! :^) This is how type should be marketed, very nice initiative.

  38. Relato Family 20% off (Ends February 15)

  39. This is how type should be marketed, very nice initiative.

    Xigactly! Fonts of related style or origin have been bundle-marketed before by the likes of House Industries, who—unlike Linotype and other big ‘uns—add nifty & enticing ad copy to define the appeal of the product to designers. The key difference here is the visibility of the promotion at Typographica. Bundling is only the first step; having influential type industry figures back up the selections with commentry legitemizes the deal.

    How about an article about the best freely available/open source fonts for those of us who cant afford $99 for a typeface?

    Nice idea Jesse, the problem is there simply aren’t many stylized, sweet, attractive free or open source fonts around. There isn’t much reward for type designers in giving away fonts with artistic merit, not even a warm furry feeling inside.

    Articles of the kind you suggest already exist, like this one. Note, the author of that blog says 25 best license-free quality fonts. He’s generalizing innacurately. Quite a few free fonts are not license-free. They’re free to download, most can be used for personal or non-profit use without paying a license, but some require a license fee for commercial use.

  40. Bram wrote:
    “These new typefaces has succeeded in bringing subtle idiosyncratic varieties to the otherwise bland standard. In other words, I would definitely use these typefaces for setting my next books.”

    Yes, YOU would definitely. What would take to persuade 97% of Italian publishers? I am not personally “tired” of Garamond (except some bad versions), but I would likejustto read better, and even an old, lead version of Baskerville would be better than the “horrors” I see everyday.
    I welcome an invasion of new faces.
    Time will establish the “classics”.

  41. Bram wrote:
    “These new typefaces has succeeded in bringing subtle idiosyncratic varieties to the otherwise bland standard. In other words, I would definitely use these typefaces for setting my next books.”

    Yes, YOU would definitely. What would take to persuade 97% of Italian publishers? I am not personally “tired” of Garamond (except some bad versions), but I would likejustto read better, and even an old, lead version of Baskerville would be better than the “horrors” I see everyday.
    I welcome an invasion of new faces.
    Time will establish the “classics”.

  42. Bram Pitoyo says:


    I agree with your statement. I don’t mind to still read a Garamond or other classic faces. But they are originally intended for hot metal typesetting, not cold. And — in my ideal world, at least — they should stay that way. New technology requires new kinds of typefaces that are specially designed for it because old faces lost its ‘charm’ in modern printing process; so I’d prefer new ones, that are still inspired by old faces, but with subtle personalities that is uniquely designed for today’s typesetting.

  43. And I would, too. That was not my point.
    Unfortunately I am not a publisher, and I still have to read 95% of my books here in Times and occasional classic serif faces, mostly in old digital versions. It seems there is no Italian publisher reading here.

  44. Bram Pitoyo says:

    Well, I’ll let the new breed of typefaces be used sparingly myself – you know, by independent or small publishers and the likes. That way, the public can get used to these typefaces first, while allowing those who like to taste the subtle differences. The big guys, of course, can stick to their Garamond and Bembo. Font licensing and ‘safety’, I would guess, is their primary concerns. Will the standard be ever replaced? I don’t think so.

    But we can at least try.

  45. “Well, Ill let the new breed of typefaces be used sparingly myself – you know, by independent or small publishers and the likes.”
    Why? No sense of having “something precious and new” if the big public does not even care knowing why it is so. Something like religion for some people: not to be shared or discussed.

    “Will the standard be ever replaced? I dont think so.”
    Why, again?

    I think you’ll never get people used to read new faces, unless big publishers start using them. We start to see Scala (for example) or some other FontFont “neoclassis” after more or less 15 years of exposition. I am still talking about Italy, I know probably we’re the most retarded, paradoxical as it may sound…

  46. Bram Pitoyo says:

    That’s true, Claudio (in the US too.) That’s why little publishers have to use the new faces first in order for the mass market to, at least, start familiarizing themselves with the look and the color on the page.

    Then the big guys, with much luck, will follow this new look.

    As for the popularity of Scala and Stone, I can understand them, but none of them got picked as an official book face yet; so, again, I’m not sure if it will change. I can also say that their proportion and construction are unlike Aldines, so if the typeface indeed change, it will be more along the lines of EM Relato, Veronika’s Maiola, or Christian Schwartz’s Arnhem.

    That’s just my opinion on this matter.

  47. Mr. Schwartz says:

    Christian Schwartzs Arnhem

    I’m a big fan of Arnhem, but I can’t take credit for it. It was drawn by Fred Smeijers. Unless you meant Farnham, which wouldn’t work nearly as well as a book face as Arnhem would.

  48. Bram Pitoyo says:

    Ah, yes, Farnham. Sorry, it was my mistake.

    Funny the two typefaces (which happened to have a name somewhat like each other) also belongs to roughly the same category.

    And it is certainly an honor for me to get a reply from Mr. Schwartz himself! Thank you!

  49. I’m a little relieved to see these faces are not ignored just inside Italy.
    I wasn’t implying Scala is actually used, in fact I think I saw it once.
    And yes, life breathes back again from small publishers, although I just bought a (quite expensive) book from a publisher of books on writing and typography, and it is set in ITC Garamond.
    ITC Garamond is not a book-aimed face, and I think it was never meant that way.
    I hardly notice the typeface as I read, but ITC Garamond is really annoying in a book.

  50. Bram Pitoyo says:

    Actually, I have to correct my statement. I’ve seen Scala and Stone used to set a book-but never in a novel, paperback or non-fiction (basically the word-heavy kinds) yet.

    And yes, I find ITC book faces much reflecting those that are from the “Lubalin era.” They’re a bit full of character and “starved” of their weights to be used in text size.

  51. CDM says:

    I used Maple Font in the logo of (I want to be scout member) because there are a lot of details in this typography very humanistic and comunicate fresh ideas! Best Regards! Carlos DeMiguel, Graphic Designer, Spain.

Post a Comment

Comments at Typographica are moderated and copyedited, just like a “Letter to the Editor” in a newspaper. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be published. Compliments are appreciated, but will not be published unless they add to the conversation. Thank you!

Recently Commented

Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles with Caren Litherland and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

Set in Bureau Grot by Font Bureau, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek, Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross, and JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens.

Brought to you by this month’s nameplate sponsor, FontShop, MyFonts, FontFont, Wordpress, Fused, and the letter B. Read our editorial policy.